Suffering Is Just Part of the Game
Well, OK, maybe I was a little hasty when I announced to my Gates Four Gangsome buddies last week that I hated golf and was giving up the game.
I should have waited until my next chili-dipping, cold-shanking, three-putting round to deliver the farewell speech.
I know I’m not going to quit the game, but honestly there are times when I’d like to. If my doctor could check my heart rate when I’m getting ready to hit an approach to a green, you’d hear ambulance sirens coming my way.
I said recently that I hated golf. Well, that also was too quickly stated. I don’t hate golf; it hates me. Obviously, I have done something to offend the golf gods. There’s no other reason I would be suffering like this.
The truth is I never should have fallen in love with this game. Or at the least I should have kept the relationship casual.
There was a time when I did date her casually. We’d go dancing maybe twice a month just for fun. Then things started getting serious. I found myself calling for tee times during the middle of the week. I brought new clubs to our appointments. I wouldn’t dare show up in scuffed golf shoes. I even color-coordinated my gloves and golf shirts. I was hopelessly hooked.
Those were the days, my friend. But had I been a real golfer, I would’ve known they had to end. Nothing that good can last.
I’ll never forget the first time I met a shank. I was playing in a pro-am with a club professional, one of the top players in the Carolinas PGA Section. I had covered several tournaments that he won and was excited about being on his team.
The nerve ends collided on the first hole when I had a wedge for my third shot to the green on a par-5 hole. The result was my first-ever shank. Totally mind-warped, I proceeded to shank twice more, almost circling the green.
Finally, the pro put me out of my misery, telling me to pick it up, we’d count someone else’s score on that hole.
From that day forth, I knew bad things could happen on the course. Fear in a golf swing is a terrible thing. Irons that feel like snakes in your hands need to be melted down into something useful. At the least you need to carry some potent anti-venom serum in your golf bag.
Anyway, that’s where my golf game and I are right now — very close to divorce. I either have to get better or give it up. It’s so bad now that the guys in our Gangsome flip a coin to see who has to take me on their team. That hurts.
But, just to be sure there isn’t some little spark of romance left, I’m going to try it one more time. I know the next round has to be better.
Several readers who apparently are concerned about my mental health have either emailed or phoned in words of encouragement.
A physical therapist who once helped me get an aching shoulder back into play called and graciously volunteered to evaluate me and find out what the major problem might be.
I’d love to do that, but the truth of the matter is that there’s nothing physical about my body anymore. Therein might lie part of the problem.
Stephen (Man, I killed that one!) Boyd, who has never been bothered with faults in his game, advised: “Get off that bridge. Put down that gun. Throw those pills away and let’s go play Pine Needles next week.”
I always did like that guy, but he has no sense of realism.
I visited a local pharmacy seeking something for relief of shoulder, knee, ankle, hand and neck pain, and was sadly informed that there are no “golf withdrawal patches” available.
So let’s see, I have recently purchased a new driver which no longer resides in my bag, a beautiful putter that has taken up residence in my granddaughter’s bag, and a chipper that I can’t wait to give to Boyd if he ever follows up on that invitation.
Note: I did not say exactly how I was going to present that chipper to Boyd.
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